Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinska

Published by Big Picture Press (ISBN: 978-1848773011)

Prepare yourself to be taken on a ‘celebration of the world, from its immense mountains to its tiny insects - and everything else in between.’  This book is a real treasure.  Bursting with 52 beautifully illustrated maps of the world, it is a must for every bookshelf.  Maps is both a feast for the eyes as well as the mind and will excite and inform children of all ages.  

Maps is a large, hardback book which takes the format of a standard atlas and turns it on its head.  Children are able to explore the world, visiting each section of the book – one for each continent.  Over a double spread, they will discover a delightfully detailed map of a given country.  Each map is geographically accurate, including political borders and place names, but is also overflowing with enchanting details: places of interest, iconic personalities, native animals and plants, local peoples, cultural events and so much more.  In fact, Maps presents the reader with the very elements that make each nation so unique and special.  The illustrations themselves have a whimsical charm, balancing humorous details alongside serious content.  With each look, something new is revealed.

It is not often that you find a book that can be used so widely.  The maps include fascinating facts linked with each country which would be devoured by any inquisitive mind, but this book can also be enjoyed without the need to read at all. It is perfect to dip in and out of as well as pouring over it for hours. It would be ideal for sharing, stimulating discussion and questioning, while also being that special type of book you can enjoy over and over again all by yourself.  

This really is a gem and the possibilities for use in the classroom and beyond are endless! The illustrated maps and their embedded facts would make a fantastic starting point for researching a part of the world.  In addition, this style of map could be easily compared to historical illustrated maps such as the Mappa Mundi.  Children could discuss what historians can learn from such illustrated maps and their value as a piece of evidence.  They could then go on to design their own illustrated map, displaying their interpretation of the world and the things that are important to them.  In terms of literacy, children could let the maps take them anywhere in the world.  How about sending the children on a magical journey: they could use a map to help decide on their destination, what they would do, see and experience while they were there. Together, the details of the map and a child’s imagination, could create many adventures that would rival Mr Ben’s.